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Normal Force(ing You to Buy This!)

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Vivianna DeNittis

More stories from Vivianna DeNittis

Makan My Way Downtown
September 30, 2017

Arapahoe High School sophomore creates clothing line inspired by global cultures.

Grant+Brumage-Heller%2C+10%2C+displaying+his+design+process+for+Normal+Force%27s+next+clothing+drop.
Grant Brumage-Heller, 10, displaying his design process for Normal Force's next clothing drop.

Grant Brumage-Heller, 10, displaying his design process for Normal Force's next clothing drop.

Vivianna DeNittis

Vivianna DeNittis

Grant Brumage-Heller, 10, displaying his design process for Normal Force's next clothing drop.

There is a strict division ingrained in an average high schooler’s mind that entrepreneurial pursuits are separate from the time spent before graduation. Some teenagers, like Grant Brumage-Heller, 10, realize that small businesses are not just for suited men with phone holsters and briefcases. Brumage-Heller opened up his online clothing store, Normal Force, Thursday, February 8 at 11:59 PM (EST). The store currently sells three uniquely different Japan-inspired shirts.

normal force: not just in physics


Normal Force’s logo, designed by Grant Brumage-Heller, 10.

In deciding the name for his new clothing line, Brumage-Heller knew he wanted something unique to match the brand he is marketing. “I wanted I wanted it to be Gravity, but I thought that sounded really cliche. And then I was in physics class and I was like ‘yeah that [Normal Force] sounds pretty tight’” said Brumage-Heller.

 

Shoppers are greeted on Normal Force’s website by the logo, a two-toned bear adorned with “nF.” The bear was initially meant to be the subject of the brand’s shirts. “My original goal was I was gonna make t-shirts with just these bears on them. I’d have different colors of them and then say ‘collect your bears.’ And then I realized no one was gonna buy bear collectables” said Brumage-Heller. He decided to use one of the dozens of bears he had recolored as the background for his logo.

the process

Screen capture of Normal Force’s Instagram, featuring models wearing the clothing line.

Just like the creation of the logo, the clothing line came together spontaneously and naturally. “It’s kinda just all off the cuff” said Brumage-Heller. The process in building his business has been relatively quick. “I started designing stuff a couple months ago for fun… and I thought it looked cool. Then, a couple of my friends told me to put it on t-shirts” said Brumage-Heller.

 

He didn’t originally plan on selling his clothes based around Japanese culture. “I had some pictures in my camera roll, and I just started messing with them in photoshop and illustrator. I kinda just realized that everything I made was around a theme. So that worked out good I guess” said Brumage-Heller. He’s currently working on designs inspired by India for his next release date, and hopes to highlight multiple cultures with future lines.

manufacturing & distribution

Finding a place to manufacture and print his designs was a difficult. Brumage-Heller quickly discovered that local printing services in Colorado were too expensive for his budget. He found that sourcing globally is much more affordable. Brumage-Heller used alibaba.com to connect with manufacturers around the world to make his product. He ultimately decided to outsource to a company in India.

 

The morning after he dropped his first clothing line, Brumage-Heller was already celebrating sales of his shirts. “I got only orders from Germany. I got six from Germany and one from Austria” said Brumage-Heller. He did not know why he had a relatively large customer base from Eastern Europe, but he was certainly happy for the business. Brumage-Heller is also expecting a very local order in the near future. “My dad wants to get a shirt, so I guess that’s cool” said Brumage-Heller.

store information

Normal Force opened its online store Thursday, February 8 at 11:59 PM (EST). The store closes Friday, February 16. Check the website out for the look book and purchasing unique clothing. Order the Japanese-inspired t-shirts for $25 and long sleeves for $40. Brumage-Heller plans to drop his India-inspired line in April.

 

Normal Force’s website: normalforce.org

Follow Normal Force on Instagram: @normal.force

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